The hundred themes are from a series of inspiration/challenge themes.
They fought over who'd marry her, Alphonse reminded him. He'd won, he told Edward, but been refused. It was the game children play. He wasn't ready for the real thing yet. He had to know that he wouldn't be the dog that ran, just like his father.
She hadn't cared. She was still here, straddling his hips, knowing his fears. It was the risk she took.
He knew why she wanted him to come home now; they had new games to play. Her hands followed his scars reverently; his fingers traced arrays on her skin that transmuted breath to gasps.
"If Hughes were alive today," Roy said, when he became aware of the change in their relationship, "He'd happy for you."
Edward tried not to think on that, when he came home, slipping in past Den and Pinako; neither slept very deeply.
"The advice he would give you," Roy continued, "would be 'marry her swiftly, and have a family'. Don't waste the time you're given." His pain was plain. "We rarely appreciate it."
When he slipped into her bed and heard her mumble 'I love you, good night', he realized Roy had been honest with him for the first time.
Winry woke to find her bed empty. She knew where Edward was, thought. Dressing, she went to meet him.
"Do you come out every time you visit, Edward?"
He nodded and said, "I feel I ought to come and talk to her. About what I'm doing, how I am, how close or how far we are to success. A son should be able to talk to his mother."
"And have you told her about me?" Winry asked, sitting down not far from him.
"Of course, I'll never know if she gives her blessing—" But he smiled. "Still, I can guess."
"Put Den out. He's doing it again! I'm never gonna come with your dog eyeballing us!"
Winry lifted her head and then laughed, before she placed a kiss to Ed's thigh. "I knew something was wrong."
Ed watched her get up, naked as the day she was born, and grab the dog by the collar, sweeping him to the doorway and nudging him outside.
"How did you know?"
"About the fifth time I run my tongue just so," she replied, "You usually go over the edge. I was to stroke nine when you finally said something."
The library was getting to be as mingled as their lives were. Mechanical texts were tight against alchemic tomes, and automail manuals had their spines in line with books thick with arrays and their uses.
But the shelves also provided protection. The books buffered sound well; it didn't carry past rows and rows of volumes that would never tell of what went on between the aisles—his jacket on the floor in one, her top on a shelf in the other.
Books were not the only things found on their backs and open, here. Still, Edward read between the lines.
There were places Winry was allowed to have the upper hand. Arguments were usually fifty-fifty. When it came to automail, Winry was always right. But when it came to the bedroom, Edward liked being right. He was, deep down, an old fashioned guy and he liked control.
That didn't mean he couldn't occasionally let her take charge. Winry liked that; he suspected it was because she liked being right and being on top, and liked knowing that Ed would do as she asked.
He never said why he let her flip him on his back; sometimes, Edward liked being wrong.
"And how long will you be gone?"
"I don't know."
The silence lingered. It was the usual non-fight they had before he left. His bags were packed, and Alphonse was waiting.
"Will you at least attempt to write, this time?"
"Yes," though he knew he might not.
Winry sighed and fussed with her tools. "I'll be here."
He felt her eyes on his back as he walked out the door. It got harder every time, just as his life got more complicated with each goodbye. It was never easy, walking away.
Edward wondered if his father ever felt like this.
Roy tried not to bite his tongue as he watched Edward stare out the window of the train. The boy had grown up so much, and it vaguely annoyed the Flame Alchemist.
"You know," he finally said, "You're not necessary in this particular excursion, Fullmetal."
Roy tried not to reach over and throttle the boy. "I'm saying, it's no trouble if you stay home. No problem at all." Then he wouldn't have to watch the boy brood anymore.
"No," Edward said. "It would be a problem. I'll do my duty; I know what kind of a dog I am."
They could only have this; a few days and then he'd be on the train going 'home'. He'd find reminders of her on his person constantly, whether it was the love bite on his neck he didn't want to explain to the colonel, or a lovenote tucked into a coat pocket.
"Don't you wish it could be different?" Alphonse asked.
"If only," Edward replied; he found one of her long, pale hairs on his shirt, and wove it between his fingers.
Such a tenuous connection they had; strong, but he was afraid it would snap if it were tested now.
"...Are you in love with Winry?"
Ed had been dreading that question. He couldn't lie to his brother and reply with total certainty the answer Al wanted to hear! But he gave the best answer he could.
"I might be."
"You might?" Al's voice was low. "You think you love her, but you're—" He couldn't say it.
"She knows, Al."
"I'm disappointed, brother," Alphonse was like their mother, but Ed knew he was his father's son.
"I want to love her," Ed told him "But I can't make that promise. Not until I know I'm not going to run."
It was a blow when Pinako died, but Ed wasn't surprised. She had lived a long, full life when the cancer took her.
"I don't know what to do," Winry said, tears streaming down her face. "She's gone. But I can't be... sad for her. I'm crying for me, because she's not there when I wake up, and she's not there to help me make your automail, and she's not there with her pipe smoke and—I just want her back badly, Edward!"
"It's okay," he said, brushing away her tears. If only he had thought so, so many years ago.
After the alchemical flash occurred, Alphonse peered over Ed's shoulder. "Brother, what are you doing?"
"Well, Winry leaves so many of her hairs on my clothes, I figured I'd put them to use."
The alchemy had been perfect, each strand bound to the other in braid; it fit his finger well, just like he intended it too, and the strength of those hairs were well combined; it wouldn't cut easily.
"But a ring, brother?"
"Why not?" Ed asked, sliding it on.
Alphonse just shook his head. He didn't say anything about Edward wearing it on his left ring finger, either...
"What are you working on now?"
"A new arm for you!"
Edward groaned. "Come back to bed. I'm just fine with this arm, in and out of it!"
Winry turned on her chair, and she smiled slyly. "I don't know. With this new vibration function I've installed, you'll definitely be better in bed then out of it..."
Edward lifted his head and stared in shock. "You aren't serious!"
She winked. "...Gotcha."
Edward got up and hauled his girlfriend right out of her chair. He'd show her what he did with the hands he had didn't require improvement! Vibration functions, indeed!
Edward admitted it to no one, but they always had the best sex the nights before he left. It was variably at the end of some argument, but neither could really lay in bed and waste the time they had.
Before he knew it, she'd be reaching for him, or he'd have his arms around her, and the next thing they'd know, he'd be watching her crest another orgasm as she ground her hips against his, trying to burn every sensation into her skin, calling his name sharply.
It would, he realized, be a bittersweet loss when he stopped traveling.
What followed the greatest sex of their relationship was the longest wait. Each time it seemed to drag further and further on, as Winry worked on automail and did repairs and considered moving to the city to be closer to Edward. She could easily work an automail shop in Central; she was skilled and intelligent and had a prestigious mentor.
But she couldn't help but think that Ed would be unhappy, not coming back here to the country, where the green stretched on and he remembered every nook and cranny of the mountains and woods.
So she waited, and worried.
The first time he came back to find his 'room' had been converted into another workspace, Ed wasn't sure how to take it. He was used to having his space, and his privacy, and—well, his own room.
But then he realized that Winry's bed had doubled in size, and the attic was now looking rather homey indeed. When Pinako and Al went to run errands, they broke in the couch, the desk, the work bench, and the floor.
After that, he was very happy for the change; it had so many added perks, he didn't miss the old setup.
When Winry got up, untangling herself from her boyfriend, she hit the bath, then dressed and went downstairs.
Pinako left notes on the corkboard on what had to be done today; repairs, mods, shopping, design. All of them, one after the other in order of importance, told her what Winry would do that day.
Today, there was a note quietly attached to the side. "Don't forget your pills."
...Ah, yes. Pinako didn't want to be a great-grandma, just yet, which was just fine by Winry. Ed wasn't ready for fatherhood, and Winry's name was still Rockbell—For now, anyway.
When another October 10th rolled around, Winry got nervous. Ed was never back in Rizenpool on those days, and she knew why. She didn't want him here, really, to relive that painful anniversary; the night they set their house aflame, so they would have no safe haven to come back too.
Every October 10th, she went back to the ruins of the house, and picked through the ash. Every October 10th, she found something new that they should have saved, but didn't.
She hoped that they would appreciate the things she worked to restore, when they came home for good.
They were going to fish the river for crawdads. They didn't; a lazy make-out session and some cuddling later and Winry and Ed were well-tanned from the summer sun and kept cool by the water.
"When all of this is done," Edward said, his hand curling around the blades of green grass, "I hope we spend a lot of time like this."
"Me too," Winry replied, her eyes on the too blue sky. "Just us, the sky, and no where to go for days. Wouldn't it be nice?"
He nodded. If only this was the constant, and not the occasional.
Winry knew Ed loved her, even if he'd never so much as said those words to her.
Before the first time they'd kissed, he'd said, "I don't need the Philosopher's Stone for myself; I'm only seeking it for Al, now. I have good limbs, made with love. They're all I need."
Any other words were completely extraneous. She had known then that he understood her feelings, and they were returned; she'd kissed him without hesitance then, and not minded that one hand was cold beneath the glove when he cupped her face.
She could live with automail if he could.